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June 27, 2016

Precision medicine becoming more prominent within healthcare

Precision medicine is becoming a more and more prominent feature within healthcare. Researchers are beginning to uncover more information on its effectiveness, while more hospitals are adopting a precision medicine focus in their treatment plans.

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According to website HealthIT Analytics, several recent studies and initiatives show a high level of interest in personalized medicine. Providers are looking for better ways to target therapies for difficult-to-treat populations, writes Sara Heath.
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For example, in a study from the University of California San Diego, researchers state they found that treatment protocols that involve precision medicine and personalized approaches tend to lead to improved patient wellness and prolonged periods of remission.

The study was published in JAMA Oncology and revolved around to groups of patients: one receiving precision medicine treatments and one receiving traditional treatments. In the first group nearly 30 percent of patients responded favorably to the treatments, and saw longer periods of “progression-free survival,” (meaning that patients’ conditions did not worsen for an average of 5.7 months). In the traditional Group this was only 4,9 percent, with an average of 2.95 months of progression-free survival.

Its results like these that show how healthcare industry is moving in the right direction with precision medicine initiatives. Razelle Kurzrock, MD, the paper’s senior author, is quoted saying: “What we observed is that phase I trials can serve both to inform us on the effectiveness of new therapies as well as identify patients likely to benefit most if a personalized approach is employed.”

One more important point, says Kurzrock,  is that targeted drugs in and of themselves are often quite useless if not combined with a patient’s individual tumor biomarkers to determine whether they are likely to benefit from a particular therapy.

Another example comes from the Indiana University. It recently allocated nearly $300 million in funding to the Precision Health Initiative through its Grand Challenges Program. The program aims to tackle various healthcare challenges that ideally will impact not only the local community and state of Indiana, but will help drive the nation toward a better healthcare system.

The project will entail five research cohorts, including genomic medicine, cell, gene and immunotherapy/immune therapy, chemical biology and biotherapeutics, data and informatics sciences, and psychosocial, behavioral and ethics cohorts.

Concluding: by using a precision medicine approach, providers can prescribe personalized treatments, as well as make headway on precision psychiatric medicine as an industry standard. Personalized treatment options may potentially become a mainstay in healthcare, ideally helping patients with varying genetic nuances receive effective care.

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